ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y.- Pokémon Go! gets people out of their houses quicker than a Squirtle can come out of its shell. And Rocklanders are part of the trend, on the prowl for whatever creatures they can catch.
A Squirtle, for those who haven't yet caught the Nintendo game bug, is a light blue Pokémon with turtle features.The app accesses the user’s camera on their smart device to view hundreds of Pokémon, digitally imposed onto the user’s environment, from up 40 meters away. The goal, of course, is to Catch ‘Em All!
Ever since Silicon Valley based tech-startup Niantic, Inc. released Pokémon Go on July 6, it has ballooned to become one of the most used apps in the world. Within two weeks of its release, the game nearly surpassed Twitter in daily active users and has outpaced Instagram and Snapchat in overall usage hours.
Up and down Lafayette Avenue in downtown Suffern, there's suddenly an explosion of players.
“I can't count how many people I've seen roaming around town with their faces glued to their phones playing Pokémon Go,” said local gamer and recent Suffern High School graduate Leonard Halim.
Leonard, who as a child was a self-proclaimed “extreme Pokémon fan” feels it's “unbelievable” to “finally be able to experience Pokémon” in the “new and immersive setting” known as real life.
The beauty of the app is that it both satisfies deeply nostalgic childhood longings while also bringing friends and family together.
“There are so many people playing it that you're bound to run into other people trying to “Catch ‘Em” too,” praised Suffern’s Ashley Sullivan, a “team”-mate and alumnus of Leonard’s.
“I don't ever remember having any other app/game that has gotten me to go outside to the extent that Pokémon Go has.”
Derick Goff, 18, of Suffern was out adventuring for Pokémon and managed to come upon the plaque located across from Sacred Heart Church on Washington Avenue which commemorates the Revolutionary-era Suffern Tavern which once housed George Washington .“I never noticed it before, but once it was on my screen I couldn’t help but read what it said,” explained Derick. “You learn something new every day.”
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